Ramadan Baskets Bond Canada Muslims

Canadian Muslims are capitalizing on the spirit of the holy fasting month of Ramadan to foster unity and good relations within the community, volunteering to offer food baskets to the needy and low-income families.

Ramadan Baskets Bond Canada Muslims
Canadian Muslims are capitalizing on the spirit of the holy fasting month of Ramadan to foster unity and good relations within the community, volunteering to offer food baskets to the needy and low-income families.

"This year, we are aiming to prepare 300 food baskets," Samina Uddin, a resident of Pakistani origin, told the Montreal Gazette on Thursday, September 20, while piling up boxes of groceries in her home garage.

For the past 14 years Uddin and a group of volunteers in the small Dollard-des-Ormeaux town have been providing food baskets for the poor during the dawn-to-dusk fasting month.

They receive supplies and donations from the Muslim community all over Montreal in the southern Quebec province.

Later on, food basics, like pasta, rice, flour and vegetables, are stocked in boxes ready for delivery.

Standing in her overstuffed garage, Uddin's phone is ringing nonstop with people asking for help or offering it.

"We get referrals from other people who heard about this project from mosques and other different organizations," she said.

"Some people see our posters and call us up. That's how the list accumulates."

To make sure that the food packages go to those in need, Uddin updates a confidential list of needy people around the area before the volunteers start distributing them.

Ramadan, the ninth month on the Islamic lunar calendar, started in North America on Thursday, September 13.

During this month, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain during daylight hours from food, drink, smoking and sex.

Community Thing

Inside Uddin's house, Saulat Janjua was filling up one of the baskets.

She feels it is a duty to help people during Ramadan.

"We fast during Ramadan so it's a month to give and help out," said Janjua.

Uddin remembers when she began the project 14 years ago.

"When I started volunteering many years ago, we were two to three women. Now, we have about 20 to 30 volunteers."

This year, her house is teeming with volunteers who are answering phone calls or sorting out groceries dropped off by contributors.

Another group is packing up the food baskets ready to be loaded into one of the vans parked in Uddin's driveway.

For the volunteers the project is all about helping fellow Muslims, who make up nearly two percent of Canada's some 32.8 million people.

"This is a community thing, you have to see it when you come here" said Uddin.

"Younger people, older people, everybody gets involved and they get involved in their own capacity and they are happy about whatever they are donating, and that's what I like.

"It moves the community."

Sarah Khan, a 16-year-old high school student, is very enthusiastic about the project.

"I think it's a really good cause because not everyone is as privileged as we are," she explained.

"In our house, we have a lot of dishes to choose from, these people, they don't have much to choose from at all. It makes me feel good to know that they are getting the essentials everyone should have."


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Last Mod: 21 Eylül 2007, 16:56
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